Microsoft Puts The Zune Down The Memory Hole

We already knew the Zune was pretty much dead and gone — the mp3 player, that is, not the service — but until very recently you could still take a stroll down memory lane by going to Microsoft’s Zune page and looking at all the Zune HDs frolicking in the background. No longer. The Zune itself has been expunged from the Zune page and new players will no longer be produced.

It’s actually long overdue. The primary Zune ecosystem moved over to Windows Phone 7 a long time ago, and it seemed strange to have discontinued hardware on a page that should be touting how much better the new phones are than the old dedicated player. Even if that’s not strictly true.

As I am contractually obligated by Microsoft to mention every time I write about Zune (disclosure: I am not contractually obligated by anyone to do anything at all), I love my Zune HD and still use it every day. But I’m aware that it’s a relic, and I would have liked to have the media capabilities of the WP7 phones thrust in my face as powerfully as the Zune HD’s were back in the day. Although they might consider a less opaque advertising strategy this time around.

Will Microsoft ever try to Zune it up again? I would actually say yes, but not any time soon. Windows 8 will likely leverage Zune features for its media playback, and after the tablet OS is refined a little, a compact version of it could possibly emerge. But as it sits now, per a Zune Support page, the players are gone. [via winrumors]

We recently announced that, going forward, Windows Phone will be the focus of our mobile music and video strategy, and that we will no longer be producing Zune players. So what does this mean for our current Zune users? Absolutely nothing. Your device will continue to work with Zune services just as it does today. And we will continue to honor the warranties of all devices for both current owners and those who buy our very last devices. Customer service has been, and will remain a top priority for us. To get the most out of your Zune player or for additional support, see the following sites:

As usual, the fate of this interesting and ahead of its time (true regardless of the failure of the Zune hardware) Microsoft property is hazy. But perhaps by putting the past behind it, Microsoft is getting ready to take the next step.